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8/23/2012
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Rosetta Stone Online Events Now Integrate Social Media

Language learning service enlivens its online social events for students by taking advantage of links to Twitter and other social media outlets in the ON24 webcast platform.

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When Rosetta Stone started holding online social events to connect with students, more than a year ago, it initially incorporated social media in sort of the way it does on television--by flashing a Twitter handle up on the screen. In just the last few weeks, the Web conference series has shifted to making widgets for social media interaction available within the webcast itself, using the ON24 webinar and virtual event platform.

"This is a huge thing for us because social communication is a big way we support learners who use our product," said Anne-Marie Walworth, a communications specialist at Rosetta Stone. She and Michael Withrow, an online events specialist at Rosetta Stone, explained their approach in an interview last week.

Withrow said Rosetta Stone began offering "online socials" in March 2011 as a way of educating customers and answering their questions. Although these events serve a marketing purpose, they also help ensure customers are successful using the product they've already bought. Rosetta Stone has been shifting from offering its product purely as boxed software to also including online education. For example, one standard part of the offering is the opportunity to participate in a 50-minute live session with a native-speaking coach for whatever language you're studying.

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"We're demystifying the product," Withrow said. "What we found [is that] somebody might purchase the yellow box and have no idea they had access to native speakers in this online interactive experience." Social media integration was one of several features that convinced Rosetta Stone to move to the ON24 webcasting platform, along with its support for mobile users and for on-demand playback of sessions. You can see a playback of one recent session, and even in playback mode you can tweet questions to the @RosettaSuccess support account on Twitter or interact with the company on other social channels.

Walworth said it's too early to say the program has been a success, but it does seem to be resulting in more interaction on Twitter, which in turn should create greater awareness of both Rosetta Stone products and the customer support program.

Mark Szelenyi, senior director of webcasting product management at ON24, said the widget architecture Rosetta Stone is taking advantage of was introduced last year, and ON24 provides standard widgets for the major public social media services as well as tools such as ShareThis. Because the same approach can be used for private intra-company webcasts, ON24 also has created interactivity widgets for enterprise social networks such as Chatter, Socialcast, and Yammer, with one for Jive in development, he said.


The Twitter widget displayed in a Rosetta Stone Web conference with users of the language learning system.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/27/2012 | 1:58:29 AM
re: Rosetta Stone Online Events Now Integrate Social Media
I currently take several courses at school and a couple of online classes as well. I would find these widgets extremely helpful when trying to teach one's self a language or anything online and self guided. The additional web social events would also be a nice add-on to just logging on and contributing to class discussions. I have never used Rosetta Stone but I imagine that they live up to the hype of learning a language in a easier way. This just goes to show how devoted Rosetta is to their products by continuing to market their product un a meaningful manner. Looks like a great user interface also. Maybe it is time to freshen up and become fluent in Spanish. Adios!

Paul Sprague
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